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Contact Islands Program

Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

EPA Pacific Islands Program

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Palm trees tower majectically in the breezes of this unnamed Pacific island
American Samoa

EPA's Pacific Islands Office (PIO) works with the U.S. territories in the Pacific Ocean, including Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (which includes Saipan, Rota and Tinian), and Wake Island. To a lesser extent we work with the former trust territories and now Freely Associated States of Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia.

The Pacific Islands Office overarching goals are to:

  • Safeguard the environmental health of the U.S. – Affiliated Pacific Islands, by addressing environmental deficiencies such as inadequate water infrastructure, open dumps, and unaddressed hazardous waste sites.
  • Build local environmental protection capacity by providing resources, technical assistance and training.

PIO manages domestic programs and grants in the flag areas: the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). These consist of consolidated environmental program grants, water and wastewater construction grants, and other special grants.

The consolidated program grants help fund the implementation of each of the territories’ environmental protection programs.  In addition to managing grant assistance programs, PIO administers and implements (either independently or in combination with other program offices) the agency's regulatory responsibilities in the flag areas, including in some cases enforcement authority

PIO has several ongoing initiatives in non-flag areas. We are involved in the implementation of the treaty (i.e., Compacts of Free Association) obligations in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, where PIO works closely with local government and the Army's Space and Missile Defense Command to develop and implement environmental standards for the Kwajalein Missile Range. On Wake Atoll, we are working with the Army to achieve compliance with applicable environmental standards.

This beach on the island of Rota, in the Marianas, beckons sunbathers with its warm, gentle ocean waters
Rota, CNMI
The waters of Tumon Bay in Guam are crystal-clear
Tumon Bay, Guam

In odd-numbered years, PIO sponsors a bi-annual Pacific Islands Environment Conference. This conference brings together environmental, political, community, business and utility representatives from throughout the Pacific Basin. Participants hear from regional and international experts on a variety of topics, and generally share information with each other.

In conducting its business, PIO works in partnership with its island counterparts. We have working relationships with each island area that are based on mutual respect and common objectives. Maintaining these relationships is an important aspect of all of our activities. Aside from providing grant assistance, a significant role of PIO in these partnerships is to facilitate capacity building and increase self-reliance at the island level. Providing technical assistance and training are major components of our work every year.

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